The news is full of threatened cuts as the City rolls out the new four year budget process and proposals. There is always public posturing and positioning while negotiations go on in private. Usually this leads to cuts not being as bad as signalled. This does not mean we should not be very concerned. A four year budget lends itself to the argument that it must be conservative. This will allow the City to set relatively low targets for fulfilling its social responsibilities. These may or may not be improved in successive years as there will be surplus and deficits to be dealt with. To date, there has been no information on what happens if the picture is different in year 2, 3 and/or 4.
For now, the City committed to implementing a poverty reduction strategy, but only within existing budgets. What we are hearing to date, such as drastic cuts to transit and only a .5% increase to community services, needs community to step up and push back.
Community groups have put forward solutions. Make Poverty History Manitoba’s Winnipeg Without Poverty has developed a visionary anti-poverty strategy with 50 recommendations of how the City can lead. These should be front and centre in the budgeting process. Moreover, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released an Alternative Municipal Budget that provides a detailed fiscally prudent template for to implement a progressive budget.
This new process has the presentation of the departmental proposals earlier than in previous years. This means more opportunity to speak out. There will be delegate presentations from November 22 to November 28. Community groups are coming together to have their voices heard. Please come out to our meeting to hear what others are saying and learn the basics on how to advocate for what you want. If you can’t make the meeting, please check out the City Clerk’s Department official website if you want to organize on your own.
If speaking at City Hall is not possible for you, you can always write the Mayor and Council here. Tips:
Know your points before you call
If emailing try to keep it short
If doing either or both, make sure you request a response
Follow up on that response
Try to be solution focused ie.: Where they can find the money. Our property taxes have been kept unsustainably low for decades. We have allowed urban sprawl to deplete our tax base (check out CCPA report on The High Cost of Free-Riding and How We Fix It and Brent Bellamy’s Free Press article – City’s expanding footprint has high cost). The Save Our Canopy campaign is a great example. It identified that taking less than 5% from the capital roads budget will increase our ability to save our tree canopy by 200%. In short, give the decision makers your permission to spend less on what can wait and more on what cannot!
Last week, Winnipeg City Council’s Public Work’s committee recommended moving ahead with the first phase of a discounted bus pass. The proposed reduced fare would apply to full monthly adult passes, starting at a 30 percent discount in April increasing to 50 percent by 2022.
Community groups working in environmental sustainability and
social justice have been calling for a reduced fare bus pass for low income
people for many years. While the city’s proposal is a positive first step, we
know that for many low income households it does not go far enough. At $70
dollars per month next year, it will still be out of reach to far too many.
Discount single fares would be more accessible for those who cannot afford a
full month pass. As well, a true low income pass would be available to all age
groups including seniors and youth.
Other cities like Calgary have gone much further in making
truly affordable low income bus passes. To achieve these objectives Winnipeg
will need greater provincial support, including re-establishing a 50/50 funding
arrangement for transit. The Province already pays out over $4 million annually
in bus fares for people on EIA and other provincial programs, so they have a
clear financial responsibility.
Community members will have an opportunity to have their
voices heard at Winnipeg City Hall on October 24th at 9:30 am when
the low income transit pass goes to City Council for a vote. Social
Planning Council of Winnipeg is encouraging everyone to come out and have your
In preparation for this meeting, SPCW is holding an information
and organizing meeting where we will help get people ready for presenting so
that we can share messages and support each other.
Date: Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019
Time: 10 am – noon
Venue: Social Planning Council of Winnipeg, 432 Ellice
Please contact Josh Brandon at: email@example.com to
RSVP or if you have questions on the event.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Child Poverty: 30 Years and Still Counting 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of when all the parties present in the 1989 House of Commons unanimously voted to end child poverty by the year 2000. Today, Campaign 2000 …Continue reading →